The Breast.

In all seriousness, an entire Anatomy class was recently devoted to learning about the breast. Here is summary of some of what was taught, with most of the material probably being a review for any mothers reading.

Both men and women have breasts; however only females have reproductive mammary glands. Breasts are composed of fat, muscle, and mammary gland tissue. The nipple is surrounded by the areola, a protective skin filled with sebaceous glands that protect during breast feeding.

Prolactin is a hormone that conducts the mammary gland to start lactating (i.e. making milk). Prolactin is only released a few days before the birth of a baby. Oxytocin is another hormone that stimulates the contraction of muscles to cause the ejection of milk from the mammary gland through the sinus and subsequently the nipple.

The first milk to ever be ejected from the breast is called colostrum. It is thicker than normal breast milk as it is overloaded with proteins. Often new moms feel that they can't breast feed because the can't seem to lactate. They are likely capable of lactating fine, it's just that this thick "first milk" needs a little extra work to be ejected before the breast milk can flow normally. Massaging the gland or using a pump can help to expel the colostrum.


  1. Back in Momma's baby days she said the health care professionals use to encourage non breast feeding new Moms to at least feed the baby the colostrum as it is so very good for newborns.

    We believe it is full of antibodies as well.


  2. You are correct! Those proteins I talked about are mostly antibodies. So good for the baby as the baby doesn't start making its own immune system until 6 months.


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